Professional bull rider Mason Lowe dies after being stomped during competition
A professional bull rider died as a result of being bucked off his bull at the National Western Stock Show on Tuesday night in Denver.
Mason Lowe, 25, was on the ground when the bull, weighing between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds, landed on his chest with its hind legs, according to news reports. Lowe attempted to get up, but collapsed a few feet away. He was taken to Denver Health Medical Center where he died of “massive” injuries to his heart and chest.
Rodeo injuries are common, but fatalities are relatively rare. Lowe is believed to be the third bull rider killed since Professional Bull Riders’ inception in 1992. The other two deceased riders were also thrown from their bulls and stomped on, according to the Denver Post.
Lowe was wearing a protective vest designed to guard against a bull’s horns and prevent “thoracic compression,” or a chest collapsing if a bull lands on a rider.
“The loss of Mason is devastating to us all,” said Sean Gleason, PBR’s chief executive, in a statement. “Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest condolences are with his family and wife Abbey. Right now we’re focusing on easing their pain and supporting them during this very difficult time.”
Lowe grew up in Exeter, Mo., a town of fewer than 800 residents in the southwest corner of the state. Locals call the region that borders Arkansas and Oklahoma “cowboy corner,” because rodeo is the most popular sport.
Like his father and cousins before him, Lowe grew up riding dairy calves on his family farm and graduated to steers and junior rodeos, Gene Robbins, the local rodeo announcer, said in a phone interview.
“Coming from a small town, you don’t have a lot of opportunities. It’s not like you’re going to be a professional baseball player or football player or something,” Robbins said. “But his dad and his cousin also rodeoed, and so he was born into it.”
By the time he reached high school age, Lowe rode in amateur competitions instead of high school events because of his advanced skill. He turned pro at 18 and quickly rose through the ranks as one of the sport’s top prospects.
After his first season, he was ranked No. 164 among world bull riders. By 2017, when he returned to Springfield, Mo., for PBR’s annual competition near his hometown, he was No. 14 and had made more than $110,000 in winnings that season, according to the Springfield News-Leader.
He went into the event in Denver ranked 18th.
“Hell, he was a cowboy’s cowboy,” Austin Shirley, one of Lowe’s friends, told the Denver Post. “He could rope, ride and cover any bull. He never forgot where he came from [when] he made it big time and never forgot his roots.”
Robbins said even after Lowe’s professional career took off, he returned to southwest Missouri to compete at local rodeos and to teach junior cowboys tricks of the trade.
“He was a good guy. He came up tough. His family rodeoed and had cattle and things. Just a hard-working country kid,” Robbins said. “He could ride bulls good. He made it to the big stage where every kid dreams of.”
The bull Lowe was riding, named Hard Times, will remain in the PBR circuit, league officials said, because the animal’s actions were “absolutely unintentional” and had no “mal-intent.”
Robbins said Lowe’s hometown was struggling with the rider’s death but was supporting Lowe’s family.
“Everybody is keeping their heads up and going on, but it’s in people’s minds,” he said. “Everybody is thinking of the family.”